As social media like blogs, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube grow increasingly popular among consumers, marketers are seeking more data about the changing behavior of their customers.
Nielsen, which has long provided such information about the traditional media, is seeking to become a go-to source of data for new media, too. To help bolster that, Nielsen is to release on Monday morning a report of a kind it says it has not published before, a big-picture look at social media.
Although the conclusions of the report are not surprising, it is interesting to read in “State of the Media: The Social Media Report” just how large a role social media are playing in the lives of consumers.
Social media account for 22.5 percent of the time that Americans spend online, according to the report, compared with 9.8 percent for online games and 7.6 percent for e-mail.
That makes social media the No. 1 specific category and the No. 2 category over all, behind “other” ways Americans spend time online, among them perusing adult content, visiting retail Web sites and reading about subjects like sports and health.
“Social media is becoming increasingly mainstream,” said Radha Subramanyam, senior vice president for media and advertising insights and analytics at Nielsen in New York.
As a result, “there’s a need for companies to engage even more strategically in the space” than they already do, she added.
The social media brand that Americans spend the most time with, the report finds, is Facebook, by an enormous margin. During May, when the report was compiled, Americans spent 53.5 billion minutes on facebook.com from computers at home and work. (That was up 6 percent from 50.6 billion minutes in May 2010.)
“We’ve been seeing that for a while,” Ms. Subramanyam said of the dominance of Facebook in the social media realm. The reason is simple, she added: “It’s an incredibly fun way to spend time.”
Behind Facebook during May was Blogger, at 723.8 million minutes; Tumblr, at 623.5 million minutes; Twitter, at 565.2 million minutes; and LinkedIn, at 325.7 million minutes.
Facebook reaches 70 percent of active Internet users in the United States, the report says, and of the visitors to Facebook, 62 percent were female.
More women than men watch video clips on blogs and social networks, according to the report, but men stream more videos and spend more time watching them than women.
Key finding according to the Nielsen report;
- Social networks and blogs continue to dominate Americans’ time online, now accounting for nearly a quarter of total time spent on the Internet
- Social media has grown rapidly – today nearly 4 in 5 active Internet users visit social networks and blogs
- Americans spend more time on Facebook than they do on any other U.S. website
- Close to 40 percent of social media users access social media content from their mobile phone
- Social networking apps are the third most-used among U.S. smartphone owners
- Internet users over the age of 55 are driving the growth of social networking through the Mobile Internet
- Although a larger number of women view online video on social network and blogs, men are the heaviest online video users overall streaming more videos and watching them longer
- 70 percent of active online adult social networkers shop online, 12 percent more likely than the average adult Internet user
- 53 percent of active adult social networkers follow a brand, while 32 percent follow a celebrity
- Across a snapshot of 10 major global markets, social networks and blogs reach over three-quarters of active Internet users
- Tumblr is an emerging player in social media, nearly tripling its audience from a year ago